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Jan 9 8 tweets 2 min read
1/ Russia is reported to be considering forcing soldiers who are refusing to fight to serve in penal-style battalions under the command of the Wagner Group, which is desperate for new blood to replace its calamitous losses in the fighting in eastern Ukraine. ⬇️
2/ The VChK-OGPU Telegram channel, which appears to be well-connected to insiders in Russia's security apparatus, reports that "the army command has found a very unusual way to solve the problem of "refuseniks" (or, as they are called, "500s")."
3/ (The number is a reference to the military 'cargo codes' for dead and wounded soldiers – the dead are categorised as 'cargo 200' (or '200s' for short) and the wounded as 'cargo 300', or '300s'. Soldiers have taken to calling refuseniks '500s'.)
4/ VChK-OGPU says: "They are now actively discussing the possibility of gathering all the refuseniks into the analogue of "penal battalions" and placing them under the command of the Wagner PMC.
5/ ""This is how the army thinks to get rid of inconvenient 500s, but at the same time scare the rest," said the source. The Wagner PMC is only too happy about such plans and intends to replenish assault companies with 500s, as they have huge losses and a very large shortage."
6/ Penal battalions (known in Russian as shtrafbats) were last used in World War II, under Stalin's Order No. 227. Soldiers or officers suspected of "reluctance to fight" were summarily stripped of rank and reassigned to a shtrafbat under Order 227.
7/ Shtrafniks were used essentially as cannon fodder, being made to run into minefields or projectile fire to assault enemy positions. If they survived and occupied their objective, they were rounded up and used again until they were killed or too injured to fight.
8/ 'Barrier troops' from the NKVD were positioned behind them to block their retreat. It's likely that Wagner troops would fulfil this role with the new shtrafbats, and would probably have orders to shoot any retreaters. /end


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More from @ChrisO_wiki

Jan 10
1/ Ekaterina Kolotovkina, who gave a notably bellicose speech in Samara a few days ago commemorating the Russian dead in Makiivka, has given an equally bellicose response to widespread criticism of her speech. ⬇️
2/ Translation:

"I never realised that words have such power. Especially if you tell the truth and what you feel.

My speech last night was reposted by all the Ukronazi chat rooms. My chat room was overrun by bots.
3/ Everyone wrote about my fur coat for some reason, pointing out that I'm a general's wife. Look, a fur coat is no indicator of wealth, we live in Russia. And yes, in winter I go in a fur coat, Orenburg shawl and boots. Because it's so warm.
Read 8 tweets
Jan 10
1/ The burials have taken place of some of the Russian soldiers who were killed in Makiivka. However, the authorities appear to be censoring funeral announcements and are refusing to issue a list of the casualties as they say 'foreign spies' might take advantage of it. ⬇️ Image
2/ The first funerals of those killed at Makiivka have been held in Samara and the surrounding region. However, the VChK-OGPU Telegram channel reports that on VKontakte, "messages about the dead and funeral announcements are rapidly being deleted."
3/ According to the wife of one casualty from Tolyatti, "they were settled in a three-storey building, where there was a warehouse on the first floor, on the second and third there was a hostel for the military. Just there, on the residential floors, several HIMARS missiles hit.
Read 12 tweets
Jan 8
1/ A man called Shits has been awarded the title of 'Hero of Russia', according to the Russian journalist/propagandist Alexander Kots. ⬇️
2/ Kots writes:

"Ivan Shits *, commander of the Guards Tank Regiment, received the highest state award for liberating settlements in the Special Military Operation zone.

Shits makes extraordinary decisions in battle, thus saving lives of his soldiers.
3/ He managed to get out of encirclement in the Kyiv direction without losses more than once. Ivan always works at the front together with his comrades in arms and by his own example shows how a commander should behave.
Read 4 tweets
Jan 8
1/ A few months ago, I discused in the thread linked below how the Russian military has been afflicted by institutionalised lying, leading to serious losses. The pro-war Veterans' Notes Telegram channel has posted an interesting commentary on the issue.
2/ Translation:

"The scourge of this war is total lies at all levels. False reports on the real state of affairs continue to reach the top. Sometimes one gets the impression that all the military commanders have been taught at the academies only to make pretty reports.
3/ Recently, quite by coincidence, I came across a report on a unit in which I personally spent two weeks and saw how things were going. When I saw the report, I was taken aback, to put it mildly. For in that unit things were far from how it was portrayed.
Read 6 tweets
Jan 6
1/ Relatives of the Russian soldiers caught in the Ukrainian attack on Makiivka are complaining that they are being given no information and survivors are being left to fend for themselves, despite high-profile promises from Russian officials. ⬇️
2/ Samara governor Dmitry Azarov and Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation Goremykin Pushilin have visited wounded men from Makiivka in hospitals in Rostov-on-Don and the 'Donetsk People's Republic'. 60-70 of the wounded will be sent to Samara for treatment.
3/ Six of the survivors are to be given awards on President Putin's orders for "heroism during the tragedy in Makiivka".

Some relatives are still unable to discover what has happened to their loved ones, as there is still no published casualty list.
Read 23 tweets
Jan 5
1/ In the latest in a series of reports of mobilised Russians not being used according to their training (see below from @RALee85), men trained as artillerymen are finding themselves being deployed as infantry, without proper training or equipment. ⬇️
2/ Relatives of mobilised men from Bashkortostan are complaining on the social media page of the republic's leader, Radiy Khabirov, that their loved ones have been sent to the front in Ukraine as infantry despite months of training as motorised artillerymen.
3/ One relative says in a "cry for help" that men mobilised in September 2022 "were trained as BMP artillery troops for three months. Now my brother's guys were also sent to Ukraine and they are suddenly transferred to the infantry. They have no weapons training and no skills.
Read 12 tweets

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